Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sign Up for My Mailing List (E-Mail and/or Postal)

Would you like to be on my mailing list (e-mail and/or postal) and receive updates about my writing projects, books, workshops, etc.?  More and more authors utilize these methods, as well as FaceBook and Twitter, to let their readers and followers keep up to date with what we're doing.

If you'd like to be included, leave your e-mail in the comments section below.  I'll touch bases with you and you can let me know if you'd like to send your postal mailing address via e-mail. 

I currently have copies of my children's anthology, Tales of Adventure & Discovery, available for Christmas gift giving.

We're in the midst of sorting out the Christmas decorations and tree ornaments.  I've been wrapping gifts that must be mailed a distance.

(Just a note:  My mailing lists aren't shared with anyone else.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Promoting Your Book with Ideas from The Frugal Book Promoter

Promotion...promotion...promotion.  How to do it without a great deal of expense confronts most authors.  Generally the object is to sell your books and make money from them.  (Although there are a few authors write books for family use or as promotion pieces themselves.)

The Frugal Book Promoter, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson gives authors a multitude of methods for promoting their books the "frugal" way.  "How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher" is Carolyn's subtitle in this second edition, which she has updated and expanded by more than 100 pages.

In this electronic age, there are new methods of promotion continually available, and Carolyn, an award-winning author and marketer, is aware of them.  The book is only one in her "How to do it Frugally Series."

I'm also excited that I'm featured in this edition, with mention, on page 218, of my participation in a promotion technique. 

Have fun learning how YOU can promote your books without a great deal of expense.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Using a Blog to Promote Your Book

Getting the word out about your upcoming book becomes an important aspect of sales.  Your ability to do this is important when you offer a book to a publisher or promote your own self-published one.  In fact, most publishers these days look for your information about your ability to promote when you send them a proposal.

Starting a blog about your book has become very popular.  The time to start it is long before the book is published.  In fact, many authors use a blog to talk about their book before it's submitted to a publisher or they have it in print or e-book form.

However, when doing this, make sure it's a book whose idea can't be stolen.  Give out hints, but not the unique aspects.  Develop curiosity and interest, but retain the details.

I'm developing a blog, Plymouth, NH...250th Anniversary, for my upcoming book, Plymouth of Yesteryear, a compilation of my previously published columns and articles (of which I've retained the rights) for newspapers and magazines about the history of the Plymouth, NH area.  I've pondered on this idea for quite some time but never got the wheels in motion.  Yes, I did approach a regional publisher, only to have him tell me he didn't think there was wide enough readership for it to be worthwhile for him.

In 2012, Plymouth, the town where I live, will be celebrating it's 250th anniversary.  This seems to be the appropriate time for publication.  Also, I've decided upon self-publication. (I've done this before with a children's anthology of my previously published stories.)  It seems practical since a local printer, who helped me with the other book, has print on demand capabilities.  Thus, I don't have to contract for multiple copies and put out extensive funds.

I can promote the book along with activities and events sponsored by the local historical society.  I can give talks to local groups.  I can hold book signings at local bookstores and other places of business.  I can provide workshops on history and writing.

I'm starting with my blog to begin promotion and for referring interested parties.  They can watch the progress of my book.  Also, I can begin to take pre-orders.

So...think about using your blog or setting up one to begin promotion of your book, too.  Many well-known authors have used this technique.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Creating a Book Sales Site

In addition to writing and selling my own books, I've developed a book sales site, Mary Emma's Book Buzz Biz, where I'll mention books I have on hand for sale.

During yard sale season in NH, my family and I sort through the various books we've accumulated, fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children, and offer them to our visitors.  Books have been one of the high points of our sales.  Some people come each year to see what we have new in the way of books.

Now that it's too cold and snowy for yard sales, we turn to web sites and blogs.  A friend of mine has turned children's book sales into a business, particularly between Thanksgiving and Christmas, offering books on Amazon and e-bay.

Why not a blog or web site where you can mention your books?  Those you've written and those you may have accumulated for your reading and research but no longer have space to store.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Illustrating my 250th Anniversary Book

I'm working on some illustrations for my 250th anniversary book about Plymouth, NH.  I'm also looking to find the negatives for photos I took when writing the original newspaper columns and magazine articles. 

I've discovered, the more I do it, the more I enjoy sketching for my books.

Plymouth, NH's 250th Anniversary

My latest book project, which will connect with some of my other writing projects in progress, is to compile my many newspaper columns featuring the history of the town where I live, Plymouth, NH.  The 250th anniversary of the town will be celebrated throughout 2012.

Over the years, I've written about the history of New Hampshire and Plymouth for newspapers and magazines.  Why not compile some of these into book form and use my illustrations and photos to accompany the articles/chapters?

I've started a blog to keep readers updated about this project, Plymouth, NH's 250th Anniversary.  Check it out periodically for my current status.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Family Story & Civil War Workshop

I held my Family Story & Civil War Workshop a few days ago. Had a fun time, but it's good I'm flexible and have had lots of experience with different types of writing.

Those attending were interested in writing poetry and stories for children, not so much based on family stories and Civil War research. Since I've written and been published in both these areas, I brought them information in their fields while I also taught them how to incorporate family and personal experiences into mix.

Also, as I showed them how I used some of my Civil War research for this type of writing, perhaps I also gave them ideas for research in case they developed "writer's block" with what they were doing.

Teaching writing workshops of any type is enjoyable for me. I like to inspire and encourage other writers. In the midst of doing this, I often find inspiration myself.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finding Your Writing/Speaking Niche with the Presidents' Wives

Finding a niche for your writing and speaking venue helps writers further their careers. Feather Schwartz Foster has done this with the earlier First Ladies of our country. As a presidential historian, with particular interest in the presidents' wives, Ms. Foster writes about them, teaches at adult education classes and gives talks.

Her new book, The First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower, An Itimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America, you'll discover interesting facts about the nation's presidential wives you may not have known before. Often you don't hear about the wives who helped their husbands shape this nation's history. But many played an important role, whether behind the scenes or in the public eye.

Ms. Foster devotes a chapter to each of these ladies, from Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower, and gives us insight into their lives and tells about their unique accomplishments. There is a picture of each lady with her chapter.

This book is a fascinating read. I'd also recommend it as a supplement to any U.S. history class.

As a writer, you can learn from Ms. Foster on finding a niche to write about and to capitalize upon as you branch out into teaching and speaking events.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Banker's Greed - Successfully Launching a Book with Advance PR

Patricia Terrell (p. m. terrell) appears to be very successfully launching her new mystery novel, The Bankers' Greed, co-authored with T. Randy Stevens, due out March 31.  Positive reviews, blogging, book trailers, web site updates and a schedule of author appearances have helped the authors and publisher, Drake Valley Press,  get word out about this book.

Even two months ago, advance book sales were going well and book tour appearances had been scheduled. 

Even before the book has become widely available to the public, the heroine, Jessica Palmer will become part of a series!  According to Ms. Terrell's latest newsletter, "The initial reviews and critiques have been so favorable that a series is guaranteed, featuring Jessica Palmer, the daughter of a powerful and influential banker in Middle Tennessee."

Jessica's initial adventure and mystery solution is so captivating that reviewers and critics want to see more of her!

It bodes well for authors to study what Patricia and Randy have done to launch their book.  Learn from their techniques and begin promoting your book NOW.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Compile a "Seven Wonders in Your Home Town" Booklet

When substitute teaching the other day, I read a chapter in the book, The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, to the fifth graders. (Their teacher is reading the entire book to them.) The young boy in the story wanted to see the Seven Wonders of the World. This wasn't possible, so his father suggested he look for seven wonders around his home town of Sassafras Springs.

Discover Your Own Wonders

I discussed with the youngsters the possibility of discovering seven wonders in their town. Several of the students began naming sites and events they considered wonders.

This got me thinking about listing seven wonders in the town where I live. As a writer, the idea of making a booklet of the wonders, with activities for youngsters, seemed a possibility.

Look around your own town for wonders to see and do. Bring your children into the activity. Perhaps read the book by Betty G. Birney to get them involved. They will be amazed at what they can find. As in the book, these wonders may involve people.

Make a List of Wonders

Start by making a list of the wonders. Research the stories behind them. Interview people. Then visit the wonders and take photos. Make a booklet of your own.

For instance, wonders in my town of Plymouth, NH might involve:

•The Boy Scout fountain in the town square

•The former Draper Maynard factory building where baseballs and gloves once were made...and Babe Ruth visited.

•The old Railroad Station

•A possible Underground Railroad site

•A World War II fighter pilot...interview him and look through his pictures. He even flew with Charles Lindbergh on training missions.

Then go further afield in the region. Discover wonders in nearby towns. While in these areas, take hikes, go geocaching, collect rocks and study geology, go swimming, and find that your adventures for 2011 can be inexpensive but great yourself, as a family, or in a group.

(c)2010 Mary Emma Allen

(Mary Emma Allen has been a travel editor for a hometown magazine, writes travel articles, as well as books for children and adults. E-mail her about the wonders you find in your hometown at )

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baffled by Social Media? Read Susan Gunelius's Amazing Book

So much is happening so fast in the world of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, My Space, Linked In, etc.) that writers and business people often are baffled about how to utilize these new methods for  promoting themselves and their business.  Sometimes we're puzzled about how to simply use them...and wonder why we should.

Susan Gunelius, a very knowledgeable author, teacher and speaker on this topic has many great tips in her latest book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing: Step-by-Step Techniques to Spread the Word About Your Business.  She literally takes you step-by-step into this world if you're new to utilizing social marketing.  Also, if you have been involved, she introduces you to more techniques that will help you spread the word.

Also, with Susan's methods, you don't need to spend hours at a time on the Internet, thus neglecting your business or your writing.  She breaks it down into only 30 minutes a day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Postcard Promotion for Your Books - Try Jennifer Chiaverini's Method

I've used postcard promotion for a number of my books, sending out postcards to announce the new release, even printing an order blank on the card.  I've also had extra cards printed without order blanks and use them when I correspond with fans, family and friends.

I'm impressed with the use of postcards to announce Jennifer Chiaverini's new Elm Creek Quilts novel, The Union Quilters.  Jennifer mentioned on Facebook that she had 20 postcards and a Union Quilters' pin, to send to the first 100 people who responded with an e-mail.  She would appreciate their distributing the cards, which announced her new book and listed her upcoming appearances.

I responded in time to receive the cards and have been handing them out to my daughter's quilt group, the local library and a local bookstore where I teach workshops.  I'm also mailing them to friends who read the Elm Creek Quilts books and/or are involved in quilting.

Do you have unique ways of using postcards to publicize your books?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Teaching Family History Writing Classes

What fun I've had recently, teaching family history workshops at Mansfield's Books & More. People need to save their family stories for future generations. I enjoy reading about my ancestors and their lives in letters and story.

"Mom, you must write down the stories of your life," my daughter said.

This got me thinking about teaching others how to do it, whether they want to be publicly published or write simply for family reading. I'm also planning on doing some online classes. I'd like to develop a workshop I can teach to groups via Skype or ooVoo.

Any suggestions? Or interest?